Bed is for books, not the telly.
Watching property programmes is a guilty pleasure for my daughter and me. We particularly enjoy the BBC stalwart, ‘Escape to the Country’. Presenter Jules Hudson is a favourite of ours, we like his country gent manners and the way he deals with the most picky and grasping couples with an effortless and disarming charm. But what we are most interested in is having a nosy around the houses of others. It’s endlessly fascinating for us. I find it also gives me a great insight into current lifestyle trends, which then helps to inform my writing (that’s my excuse anyway).
What always strikes me on these programmes, is that whenever the couple is taken into the ‘Master Suite’, be it in a modern property or a quirky little thatched cottage, more often then not, the room’s dominant feature is a huge flat screen television, taking pride of place in the centre of one wall. It never fails to surprise me, and to jar somewhat. For me, bedrooms are for dim lighting, a bedside table full of paperbacks and, just possibly – in the bathroom perhaps, a small transistor radio.
Old fashioned? Of course. But I simply can’t see how television fits in. Do you lie in bed and watch it? Surely that would wake the kids? It might be switched on in the morning whilst you perform your pre-breakfast ablutions, but again, this is something for the kitchen maybe and personally, I prefer the radio at this time of the day anyhow, as you can carry on with other tasks without missing anything.
You may think these observations are intellectual elitism or snobbery. I can assure you they are not. I love my T.V and I’m certainly not snobbish about the programmes I watch. But the telly is for living rooms, or snugs. Places with sofas and coffee tables upon which the Radio Times can be rested. Then, when it’s time for bed, as you tromp up the stairs with a glass of water in your hand, you enter a whole other domain; the place where you can escape into the pages of a great book. It is a totally different experience and one which lulls you into the conditions necessary for sleep (unless you are gripped by a particularly good page-turner of course). I would not wish to lose this important division between day and night. The blurring of the boundaries would unsettle me. Telly is entertainment that comes at you with bangs and flashes and bursts of stirring music. Books are a quiet, even silent pleasure, where all you can hear are the nocturnal noises outside your bedroom window, the odd jet plane passing over high above, as you make the transition into a world which comprises solely of your own thoughts and dreams.
Better than the telly any day, I’d say.